Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shaler Still Hunting for Answers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shaler Still Hunting for Answers

Article excerpt

With the exception of a chosen few, dry spells are to be expected for most any high school football program.

Whether it's from the graduation of a successful class, a transition from one coach to another or something else entirely, almost no team can stay on top forever. Or at least they typically don't.

Unsuccessful runs are virtually inevitable, but the key variable is how long they last. For some, it's only a few games, like an adjustment period to get things figured out before moving forward.

For a school such as Shaler Area, though, it's something else entirely.

A 29-point defeat to Seneca Valley last week marked not only the end of an 0-9 season for the Titans, but also their 31st consecutive loss. It's a streak that dates back to Oct. 8, 2011 -- when current seniors were just freshmen -- and has grown into the longest winless drought in WPIAL football.

The most recent season offered little hope that a win would be coming soon.

In its nine games, Shaler lost by an average of 38.6 points. It scored only 60 points the entire season -- averaging 6.7 per game, third worst in the 124-team WPIAL -- and never scored more than 14 points in a game this season.

Their points-per-game average was nearly half what it was last season, when the Titans scored 13.2 points per game. At 45.3 points allowed per game, their defense improved slightly, if only because of the low bar that was set last season.

For quite some time, it didn't appear things would ever get to this difficult point.

Though the Titans have never made it to the WPIAL championship game -- old Shaler Township High did get to the Class A (now AA) title game in 1947, long before the merger with Etna and Millvale when the school became Shaler Area -- they were a competitive program that didn't view the playoffs as an unattainable, far-off destination. …

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